The Mandalorian has become the king of taking detours and it’s made for some very interesting subplots. Din Djarin has a primary mission, but the writers have easily come up with ways to keep him from getting to his destination. In the instance of “Chapter 12: The Siege,” The Mandalorian brings back a couple of familiar faces while simultaneously advancing the story. Throw in some flight chases, explosions, a sinister experimentation plot, and Baby Yoda fiddling with some wires on Mando’s ship and you’ve got quite an entertaining episode.
Realizing that he needs some work done on his ship, Mando stops by Nevarro to see his old friends Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano, whose recent real-life mockery of pronouns, conspiracies about voter fraud, and her switch to the right-wing social media site Parler made it somewhat difficult to separate her from her much more appealing fictional counterpart). It’s been a while since Mando has seen them, with Karga and Dune having become magistrate and marshal of Nevarro, respectively. How long has Mando been away? While the pair offer to get Mando’s ship fixed, they ask for his help breaking into a secret Imperial base. What they find there is even more dangerous than anything they imagined.
In short, Moff Gideon (who is honestly such an excellent big bad, thank you Giancarlo Esposito) is running a cloning experiment, easily explaining Palpatine’s return to life better than anything Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker put out. Naturally, Mando worries after discovering that the experiments are why Gideon needs Baby Yoda. Maybe he has some genetic material that will aid in the cloning and give them Force powers or something? Either way, it’s all very creepy. The revelation sets up a potentially huge confrontation for next week’s episode because the guys fixing Mando’s ship work for Gideon and have installed a tracker. Dun dun dun.
However, we’ve got to talk about Mando leaving Baby Yoda behind. I know he’s got to take a break from parenting and all but he up and left him in a classroom full of children and a droid without so much as assessing the situation. That had me side-eyeing Mando a bit, especially since he knows that others are after Baby Yoda and it’s not necessarily safe to leave him behind without vetting the people and checking the surroundings first.
That aside, “The Siege” is an excellent showcase of what The Mandalorian can achieve when balancing plot progression with great character moments and stellar action sequences. That stormtrooper thinking they’ve finally got the upper hand when landing on the transport’s roof before being taken out by Karga was a fantastic “gotcha” moment. The episode added some intrigue by throwing in the cloning experiments. The reveal works because the implication is sinister and the weight of it sits heavy on the characters without there needing to be a ton of exposition to get the point across. What’s more, New Republic Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) knows something shady is happening in the outer rim of the galaxy and attempts to enlist Cara to join the New Republic army, knowing her history and learning what she lost on Alderaan. She says no, but Teva leaves her a badge just in case she changes her mind. Given that Carano is stirring up trouble online and outing herself as a bigot, Cara joining Teva and disappearing for a mission offscreen is the best way to write out her character for Season 3.
Carano aside, The Mandalorian has successfully been picking up its pace and laying the groundwork for the remainder of the season. I’m hoping Boba Fett and Bo-Katan Kryze will make a reappearance before the end of Season 2, if only to help Mando fight Moff Gideon (and they probably will since that’s what the season seems to be building towards anyway) and thwart whatever plans he has to rejuvenate the Empire. We know that whatever happens now will eventually pave the way for the First Order’s rise to power, but there’s potential for The Mandalorian to fill in the blanks and do so in an immensely satisfying way.
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